Indian football’s governing body is impressed by Bengaluru’s recent AFC Cup success.
The consistent success of Bengaluru FC in the I-League, Federation Cup and now in the AFC Cup has given All India Football Federation (AIFF) officials the license to go for more franchise teams in the upcoming I-League. They feel that the gamble they took in allowing Bengaluru FC to play in the I-League three years ago has not gone in vain. AIFF officials want at least two more franchise teams to come forward and take part in the I-League.
Although Bengaluru has achieved success in the recent past but two other franchise teams in the I-League namely Bharat FC and DSK Shivajians FC failed to make a mark. Bharat FC pulled themselves out from the I-League after finishing at the bottom of the table in 2014 while DSK Shivajians too finished at the bottom of the table last year but this year they are building up a strong side and aiming to compete for the title.
Few weeks ago, AIFF President Praful Patel said, “We always wanted more corporate teams in the I-League as these teams can bring professionalism. But somehow it did not happen with Bharat FC pulling out in the middle. Other teams had filled in forms but were not eligible to take part as they failed to fulfil AIFF and AFC criteria.”
Meanwhile, one more club from Karnataka are set to debut in the I-League this season. Ozone FC who are defending champions of the Bengaluru Super Divison have already signed Migerian defender Bello Rasaq and Trinidadian forward Cornell Glen in their ranks and are trying to sign Sandesh Jhingan as well. Ozone FC have also signed few Indian players in the likes of Subodh Kumar and experienced keeper Subhasish Roy Choudhury.
If everything goes in a positive manner Ozone FC will make a mark as a corporate team in the I-League and they will have their base in Mysuru as Bengaluru FC’s contract with the AIFF bars the Cornell Glen led side from setting up base in the Garden city. When Bengaluru FC entered the I-League in 2013 they struck a deal with the AIFF that as long as they are part of I-League the AIFF cannot allow any other I league franchise from Bengaluru to play in the top flight.
Ozone FC’s chairman had earlier mentioned during the launch of the club that they are eyeing the 2017 I-League. The Ozone Group Chairman and Managing Director S Vasudevan said the idea is to put Bengaluru on the Asian football map. “We are planning to get into the I-league by 2017. We will ensure that Ozone FC win laurels and earn glory for Bengaluru,” said Vasudevan, whose company formerly associated with Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC.”
According to sources, the AIFF has again advertised for two new corporate teams as the response earlier was not fruitful. It has been learnt that clubs from Rajasthan ,Goa and Gujarat are competing with Ozone FC for franchise spot in I league. The Rajasthan Football Association President Manavendra Singh who is the son of former BJP leader and central minister Yashwant SInha is willing to buy a club and AIFF President Praful Patel is encouraging him.
Report by Khel Now Correspondent Kushankur Rony Rakshit. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.